Wide Earth, Frequent Forgiveness, Pain and Adversity
Issue 855 » August 14, 2015 - Shawwal 29, 1436
Living The Quran
Al-Zumar (The Throngs) - Chapter 39: Verse 10
"Say: You servants of Mine who believe! Fear your Lord! Those who do good in this world will have a good reward. Wide is God's earth. Those who are patient in adversity will be given their reward in full, beyond reckoning."
A good deed in this present life, which is short and flimsy, is repaid with something good in the life to come, which is everlasting. This is certainly an act of God’s grace. He knows man’s weakness and small effort, so He repays him generously and takes care of him.
Your love of your land where you have relatives and friends should not prevent you from seeking a different abode if your own area is hostile to your faith and you cannot do well there. To stick to your place of habitat in such a case could present an opening for Satan. It could become a form of attributing equals to God, even though it might not be felt in this way. This is a fine point indicating that polytheism can subtly creep into our hearts. It is given within the context of belief in God’s oneness and fearing Him. It should be seen as evidence of the source of the Quran. No one can deal in this way with the human heart except the One who created it and knows what has an effect on it and how.
God, the Creator of mankind, knows that leaving one’s land is hard. It involves abandoning one’s relatives and the people with whom one has close ties, leaving the place where one can easily find work and earn a living, to go to a new place where one is a stranger. This is not an easy thing for anyone. Hence, the surah refers here to patience in adversity and how it is generously rewarded by God. Thus, God’s servants feel His care and are touched as they see that when they have to undertake something hard God turns to them with care and grace. He opens for them what compensates for land, country, family and relatives, giving them a reward without count.
All praise is due to God who knows all that affects a human heart and is fully aware of every thought that finds its way into his mind.
"In The Shade Of The Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Volume 14, pp. 419, 420
Understanding The Prophet's Life
The Prophet said: “Whoever asks Allah’s forgiveness often, Allah will give them relief from every worry, make a way out for them from every difficulty, and provide for them from whence they least expect it.” [Abu Dawud, Al-Nasai]
Ibn al-Qayyim comments in Zad al-Maad:
As for the effect that beseeching Allah’s forgiveness has on our fears, worries, and difficulties, one thing all rational people from all nations and faith traditions agree upon is that sins and corruption cause anxiety, fear, and depression, as well as diseases of the heart. Indeed, even after the sinful people have had their fill from indulging in sin, the resultant anxiety and worry that remains in their hearts causes them to return to the sin again to ward away those feelings. Since this is the effect that sins and transgressions have on the heart, the only real cure is to beseech Allah’s forgiveness.
It seems that Ibn al-Qayyim is alluding to addiction, which not only relates to alcohol and drug use, but to any habitual sin, like illicit affairs and pornography. This requires appealing to Allah for forgiveness frequently, as well as seeking treatment, engaging in wholesome activities, and keeping good company.
Addiction of any kind requires professional help, since addiction itself compels the perpetration of the act, even in the absence of any pleasure. The pleasure of the activity might have been what got the addict started in the first place, but then when it turns into a psychological or physical dependency, the compulsion to do it remains even in the absence of any positive sensation.
"Always Ask Allah to Forgive You" - Salman al-Oadah
Pain and Adversity
“When someone beats a rug with a stick, he is not beating the rug—his aim is to get rid of the dust. Your inward is full of dust from the veil of ‘I’-ness, and that dust will not leave all at once. With every cruelty and every blow, it departs little by little from the heart’s face, sometimes in sleep and sometimes in wakefulness.” [Rumi]
So often we experience things in life, and yet never see the connections between them. When we are given a hardship, or feel pain, we often fail to consider that the experience may be the direct cause or result of another action or experience. Sometimes we fail to recognize the direct connection between the pain in our lives and our relationship with Allah.
That pain and adversity serves many purposes in life. Times of hardship can act as both an indication as well as a cure, for our broken relationship with our Creator.
Times of difficulty test our faith, our fortitude and our strength. During these times, the level of our iman becomes manifest. Adversity strips away our masks, revealing the truth behind mere declaration of faith. Hardships separate those whose declaration is true from those who are false.
Hardships test us. Hardships can also be a blessing and a sign of Allah’s love. And yet most people cannot fathom how adversity could possibly be good. Many do not recognize that hardship is in fact a purifier, which brings people back to their Lord. What happens to the arrogant who are suddenly put in a situation they cannot control? What happens to a man who finds himself stranded on the ocean in the middle of a storm? What happens when the ship that is ‘unsinkable’ becomes the tale of the Titanic?
These perceived misfortunes are in fact wake up calls. They humble. They shake. They remind us of how small we are, and how Great God is. And in that way they awaken us from the slumber of our deceptions, our heedlessness, our wandering, and bring us back to our Creator. Hardships strip away the veil of comfort from our eyes, and remind us of what we are and where we’re going.
"Reclaim Your Heart" - Yasmin Mogahed